MI F-35
Build a brand, develop a website, produce video content and rally community support!

The Challenge

As trusted marketing consultants for Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel and the Macomb County Economic Development Team, Hunch Free was approached with a unique opportunity to demonstrate our agility as a boutique agency.

Selfridge Air National Guard Base (ANGB) was being evaluated by the Department of Defense (DOD) along with 4 other bases nationwide to house a squadron of F-35 Lightning II's by Lockheed Martin. Only two of the five bases would be selected. Our team was asked to work in tandem with Selfridge ANGB and the 127th Wing. Their team would work on showcasing the base's tactical advantage and capacity to the DOD, our team would work on a winning the support of the local community.

Our objective was two pronged:

  • Build and showcase strong community support for basing the F-35 at Selfridge ANGB.

  • Support Selfridge ANGB and the 127th Wing's military PR team as they worked to showcase the bases's strategic benefits.

We had a very tight deadline to deliver the brand, website and content for a coordinated press conference PR/mass media blast.

Results

41%

Email Open Rate

15%

Email Click Rate

50,000+

Social Reach

4,000+

Social Interactions

Keep Reading to Find Out How We Did It!

MI F-35 Website

Custom Built and Fully Responsive Website

The Solution

Market research performed by our team revealed that some of the competing communities/bases were (for whatever reason) opposed to basing F-35's and were rallying their communities against the F-35. For this initiative we knew that we needed to build buzz and positive support within the community before any detractors could organize and gain momentum. We also needed to publicly and proudly display this support to quell any concerns that the DOD may have. With a limited budget and massively accelerated deadline our game-plan was elegant and simple:

  • Develop an exciting brand to rally local support for basing the F-35 at Selfridge ANGB

  • Create a website that educates the community and also let them verbalize support

  • Develop a digital content distribution strategy that would keep supporters up-to-speed on F-35 & Selfridge related news

The Brand

The first hurdle was to give this initiative an identity - a banner that the local community could rally behind. Using our proprietary brand development process and marketing collateral from other successful military campaigns, we set out to develop a brand that felt militaristic but connected with civilians. We wanted the brand to instill a sense of local pride and ownership over base assets and communicate that Selfridge and Macomb County has the capacity, infrastructure, and support to take on these fighter jets right now.The output of our accelerated brand development process was MI F-35: All Systems Go.

The name MI F-35 was a strategic play-on-words, most obvious is the usage of the Michigan abbreviation (MI). We wanted to communicate how the F-35 would benefit not only Macomb County, but also the entire state. On a more subtle level, MI F-35 reads internally in your mind as "My F-35", which makes Michigan residents feel possessive of the F-35 squadron, as if it is already a part of their community.

The campaign slogan (All Systems Go) accomplishes a couple of objectives. In aviation, space-flight, and even pop-culture this expression is the response given when a preflight checklist is performed and the pilot/crew is ready for takeoff. We felt that this expression perfectly resonated with this campaign because of the military's systematic thinking. Using common aviation terminology, this slogan communicates that Michigan's defense systems are primed and ready to accept the F-35.

Branding, Content Development, & Web Development - All major factors in this project!

The Website

With a brand in place, our team set out to create a clean, modern website that accomplishes four key objectives.

  • Educates visitors on the F-35 weapons system

  • Explains why Selfridge ANGB is the perfect base solution for the F-35

  • Showcases bi-partisan support from key community leaders

  • Allow visitors to voice their support for basing the F-35 at Selfridge ANGB

Using only in-house talent and our proven mobile responsive website development process, our team was able to produce a sleek website that complimented the MI F35: All Systems Go brand and worked towards the objectives previously outlined. The output of our efforts: MIF35.org

The mobile responsive website was also loaded with features like:

  • Google Analytics

  • CAN-SPAM Act compliant web forms that integrate with an email distribution platform

  • HTML5 Video Loops

  • Lightbox Video Players

The Content

Marketing efforts need good content, and the MI F-35 initiative was no exception. Leveraging our relationships within key decision makers within Macomb County Government and Selfridge ANGB, Hunch Free’s creative team was able to produce several pages of copy as well as two, fully custom videos.

Both videos were filmed using a Q/A interview style, and feature motion graphics, stock music, and professional b-roll.

The videos were filmed using a Q/A interview style, and feature motion graphics, stock music, and professional b-roll.

The Distribution

Beyond the media coverage that our website would receive, we wanted to ensure that the community was constantly kept up-to-speed on key events that related to the selection process for basing the F-35 at Selfridge ANGB. In order to do this we created distribution strategy leveraging:

  • Social Media Marketing- Hunch Free built and maintained a branded, multi-channel social community complete with multi-media content, live video coverage, and branded hashtags.

  • Email Marketing - Using a CAN-SPAM Act compliant double opt-in email collection process from the support forms on the website, Hunch Free created and executed a dynamic email marketing strategy that included monthly email newsletters, media coverage digests, and invites to key F-35 events that the public could attend.

Simply put, Hunch Free is fantastic. A wonderfully creative group that has the technical capabilities to take your initiative to the next level. Frankly our F-35 campaign would be nowhere without them. We cannot say enough great things about them.

John Paul Rea, Macomb County Director of Planning & Economic Development

MI F-35

Conclusion

While the DOD evaluations/deliberations are still underway, we are confident that the MI F-35: All Systems Go campaign was a resounding success. Our team was able to produce a solid brand identity, a conversion optimized website, compelling multi-media content, and a distribution strategy on an incredibly tight schedule while working in tandem with two government agencies.

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